Originally created 10/31/06

Across Georgia



Bat problem too big for city's own Batman

AMERICUS - So many bats have infested the town's historic district that the sky turns black with each sunset and the neighborhood is calling on Batman to come to the rescue.

That's what the local bat remover, George Perkins, goes by - often making public appearances in the Caped Crusader's costume and drives his own Batmobile - a retro-styled Chrysler Prowler with bat emblems.

The bat-weary residents of Americus aren't laughing. The problem is even too big for Batman, and now the state has promised to help.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has proposed a long-term plan that includes surveying the bat population, possibly training city workers to do bat removals for needy homeowners and constructing bat houses in safe areas where the flying mammals can continue providing environmental benefits without being a nuisance.

Perdue still holds wide lead over Taylor

ATLANTA - With just one week to go until the Nov. 7 general election, Gov. Sonny Perdue continues to hold a comfortable lead over his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, according to a statewide poll commissioned by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mr. Perdue receives 53 percent of the vote in the survey while Mr. Taylor pulls 36 percent. Libertarian candidate Garrett Michael Hayes receives 3 percent of the vote in the poll conducted Oct. 25-27 by the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Firm. Eight percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.

The poll shows Mr. Perdue cracking the critical 50 percent mark needed to avoid a runoff in Georgia, although that remains within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll shows Mr. Taylor chipping away slightly at Mr. Perdue's lead. A Journal-Constitution poll conducted earlier this month found Mr. Perdue with a 19 percentage point lead. The latest poll shows his lead has shrunk to 17 percentage points.

Smoking ban vetoed by county official

DECATUR - DeKalb County Chief Executive Vernon Jones vetoed a smoking ban Monday that would have prohibited smoking in bars and on county property including parks.

"Sometimes our government goes too far," Mr. Jones said, "and I think this is one of those cases."

The law would affect bars in unincorporated parts of the county, not municipalities such as Decatur. That might cause unfair competition for smoker patrons.

The ordinance proposed by Commissioner Burrell Ellis passed by a vote of 6-1. Five commissioners would have to vote to override Mr. Jones' veto.